OLYMPIA — Thurston County commissioners and leaders want to hear what county residents want in a new courthouse and civic center.

That’s why they are putting on a series of open houses on Oct. 15-16 and Nov. 6-7 to learn what’s on peoples’ minds.

The commissioners and county leadership will use public comments in making a final decision on one of three sites. The open houses are scheduled as follows: 

• 10:30 a.m. Oct. 15 at Yelm Community Center, 301 2nd St. SE in Yelm.

• 6 p.m. Oct. 15 at Tenino High School, 500 W. 2nd Ave. in Tenino

• 9 a.m. 10:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Oct. 16 at Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. NW in Olympia.

The agenda for the meetings will cover: 

• Features of the three sites being considered.

• Challenges needing to be addressed for each site.

• Project schedule and process.

• Funding options.

• Projections of what county department needs will be 30 years from now.

• Open house participant input and feedback session.

The current courthouse buildings are at the end of their useful life and cost significant taxpayer dollars to maintain and operate, county leaders said. The current layout presents challenges when delivering services for citizens who come to the different buildings in the courthouse complex, they said. A new or updated courthouse and civic center will improve and consolidate services, promote long-term cost savings, and enhance access for citizens looking to do business with the various County offices and departments, officials said.

This project is intended to:

• Make using county services more convenient and easier.

• Keep jurors and those working in the building safer.

• Reduce the cost to operate and maintain the buildings.

• Be environmentally sustainable.

• Reflect our pride in living in Thurston County, the Capital County of Washington State.

The three sites being evaluated in the feasibility study are:

Hill Top Site — Renovation and expansion of the courthouse and civic center at its current Lakeridge Drive location.

Plum Street Site — Construction of a new courthouse and civic center on the existing City of Olympia, Creighton Justice Center, property on Plum Street.

Harrison West Site — Construction of a new courthouse and civic center on property at Harrison Avenue Northwest and Kaiser Road Southwest. 

Thomas Architecture Studios (TAS), the consultant group hired to perform the feasibility study, will be facilitating the public comment sessions. 

Other open house dates are: 

• Nov. 6, five sessions, 9a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Ave. SE in Olympia.

• Nov. 7 in Rainier.

Nov. 7, 6 p.m. at Rochester High School Commons, 19800 Carper Road SW in Rochester.

The county anticipates bringing the completed proposal to voters on the August 2019 election.

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